Well, this was going to be a pain in the ass.
I didn’t expect to end up moving before I graduated high school. Well, life’s funny sometimes. I’m 18 years old, so I can legally acquire my own apartment and live on my own. However, there was just one catch to my independence (Besides not being out of school):
I took my little brother with me.
There was no other option. I just had to get the squirt away from them. Not like I minded either. As annoying as he can be sometimes, he’s a real good kid. He’s 9 years old and is about to move to the fifth grade. To be honest, he was excited to move to a new place. We didn’t move that far; our new apartment is on the edge of town. The city of Haven has two halves: Downtown and Uptown. Uptown is where all the rich people live with their nice flying vehicles and generally peaceful surroundings. Downtown is a shit hole. To put it in nicer terms, Downtown is where majority of the crimes and violence happen. All the people here are poor and live in rundown homes. The closer a person is to Uptown, the closer he or she is to safety. That’s why I chose this apartment on the border. Only problem is I have to pay a whole bunch, but hey, it’s better than nothing. It was also better than those rat-infested places deep in Downtown Haven.
Pipsqueak was helping me carry our belongings to the new place. I felt kind of weak while I was lifting the large box. It was probably because I barely ate anything for several days straight. It wasn’t because I was sick either. My pale, skinny arms managed to carry the box into our new home. I placed it on the couch and immediately began unpacking. Junior put his box next door to mine on the couch. He copied my movements. A slight smirk grew on my face.
“So what do ya think?” I asked him.
“I like it! It’s better than home at least.”
“Well, this is our new home now. Did you make sure to pack everything?”
” Yep, I think so.” I turned to him because I noticed his voice faded a bit. Sure enough, he was frowning. “Couldn’t we have had more time?”
My heart sank in my chest. The decision was rather last minute. There was little warning about this chain of events. I should’ve seen it coming, but I didn’t. Instead, all I could do was swallow the spit down my throat as I answered. “No, we couldn’t.”
He understood why. That was when the landlady walked in. She was several inches shorter than me and kind of pudgy but not quite fat. Her graying hair was pulled back into a bun. She had on a rose pink dress with frills that made me almost cringe just looking at it. She had a pair of glasses with one of those silver chains that made them akin to spectacles. They were around her neck, so presumably those were just reading glasses. I noted that her skin had a pink hue to it that matched her outfit. Suddenly I began to dwell on my own appearance. My skin’s so pale, I could die and become a ghost and no one would notice any change. At least the bruises on my eyes were healing up; now it just seemed like I needed more sleep.
“Welcome! Are you Trixie Ravenna?”
I bit my lip. “Yes, but please just call me Trix.”
“She hates it when you call her Trixie.” Shortstop chimed in.
“Ah, and what would your name be, little boy?” She leaned over a bit to glance at him.
A sweet smile grew on the landlady’s face. It was like looking at a grandma cooing over her grandson. The sweetness put me at ease. Still I sent Josh to his room.
“Run along Munchkin! You need to put your stuff in your room.”
“Which one is it?”
“The left one.”
He scampered away with his box of things as I faced the landlady once more.
“Your name’s Mrs. Dubfire, right?”
“That is correct. I didn’t realize you had a little brother. How old is he?”
“Ah, what a healthy young lad! His hair and eyes look similar to yours. Speaking of healthy, are you feeling under the weather Trixie? You look awfully pale. You also have red spots around your eyes.”
My worry levels shot through the roof. I am a terrible liar, but I didn’t want to alert Mrs. Dubfire about our previous living conditions. If I stated too much, then I would risk losing Josh. I didn’t want that to happen.
“I’ve just been very stressed out. That’s all. You know, stress, haha.” My voice almost cracked as I responded. “Also, it’s Trix.”
“Let me bring you some of my herb tea then! It soothes the body and helps you relax. It’s a natural way of putting a person to sleep too!”
Thankfully Mrs. Dubfire believed me and dropped off a box of herb tea. I wasn’t much of a tea person, but I thanked her and placed it in one of the cabinets in the kitchen area. Perhaps I could try a cup. Hell, I may even need it later.